Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Little Echo Swarm


It was 7:30 at night and I was packing up my bee tools out at the bee yard.  I had a date at the drive-in.

While loading the truck I noticed there were bees in odd places.  I hadn't spilled any honey or sugar syrup so there was no reason I could think of why bees would be investigating the crooks and crannies of the truck.  No reason--except one.

House hunting.
I looked up and that's when I saw the air swirling with bees going in wide loops.  They weren't going home or going to the field.  They were swarming.

Now who on earth would swarm at 8:00 at night?  My bees, that's who.

I've learned from watching swarms that the bees point in the direction they intend to go.  At first they were pointing at the truck but then they changed their position.

They were pointing at the pear tree.  I waved a goodbye.

The swarm was small and they were looking to land about 20' up.  I couldn't be bothered.  Besides these bees looked like a little echo of a previous swarm.

I was suspicious that they had come from the infamous Hive #7 which had already put out a huge swarm which I finally got... but the hive was growing again rapdily.  Maybe there's a strong swarming gene there that's better left out.

Then the bees came down to hover over a brand new platform that I had just finished setting up.  They circled and circled around it with great interest.  I think they were sending me a message.

video
So I set out a super with frames.  I didn't even have a bottom board so I used an inner cover for the bottom.  They certainly weren't fussy.

I didn't try to brush them or do anything but within a few minutes they were clustering outside the super and going in and out of it.  Then the scouts were dancing at the cluster.  They were pretty excited.  They were flying up to the branches too and encouraging the others to come down.

The clump in the pear tree was growing smaller by the minute as they moved down.  It was a democractic moment.  The dancers were very convincing.

This was definitely a teriertary swarm because it was quite small.  If they had a queen she'd be a virgin and inexperienced which might explain why they thought the truck might be a good new home.

They were entering the hive.  The dancers had done their job.

It was getting dark when I left.  And I missed my movie.

But I got another swarm!
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